Legs, Core, Balance

I recently had a discussion with an acquaintance regarding his aging father. His father had recently suffered a fall. Although no deleterious injuries resulted from it, given the gentleman’s age, there was still reason to be cautious. The need for balance was raised by my acquaintance but I inserted that, along with balance, leg strength and core strength must also be addressed. The deterioration of any of these qualities (leg strength, core strength, balance) can have serious impact on quality of life in later years. Their maintenance can be easily maintained through diligent, consistent adherence to a balanced physical regimen.

The strength of your legs has been found to be a key predictor of your longevity, both how long you will live and the quality of life as you age. Legs are important for many reasons. The legs ground one to earth but also enable one to stand upright towards heaven. Humans are delicately balanced atop the legs. However, loss of use of the legs, due to injury, old age and/or non-use, can be a life altering situation. Independence is strongly tied to the legs being viable. In cases of an elderly person being relegated to a walker or a wheelchair, it might be necessary to have someone on hand to help with some of the daily task that one might encounter.

Having strong core muscles is essential to a strong body and being able to get around pain free in the golden years. So much confusion abounds concerning the core. If one is doing sit-up and ab-work as a means of addressing the core, then the point has been missed. The core is the series of musculatures responsible for maintaining the stability of the body in the presence of the various movement and non-movement combinations. Body positions are an important aspect of day to day maneuvering. The core is the connective link between upper and lower, between heaven and earth. The core grounds us and simultaneously supports (our) movement through space. Having the ability to activate the core as one ages become all too important.  

Falls, in general, can be debilitating. They affect all age groups but for the elderly, they can be particularly risky. Falls are the leading cause of accidental death in adults age 65 and older. Balance is an aspect of mobility that deteriorates with decreased use. The organs of balance and the nervous system must be linked such that any perturbation undergo instantaneous compensation. Balance is a quality that must be regularly and within one’s ability challenged. This system works by it having to work.

The golden years can be a very enjoyable time through addressing the qualities of leg strength, core strength and balance. These are all aspects of living that receive scant concern or notice in the days n a very of youth. Their importance becomes an issue when to ability to engage them or to utilize them begins to diminish or becomes compromised. This often happens in a very gradual manner. Thus, it is during the golden years, after periods of non-utilization, that one typically discovers the non-functionality of these attributes.  This situation can be avoided. Very accessible exercises can be a vehicle through which one retains the ability to move about, maintain stability and to be upright.

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